Hotel Orenge

370-48 Hijiwara, Hagi, Yamaguchi Prefecture, 758-0025, Japan
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Travel Tips for Hagi

Pottery, art and old lady farts

by Tomoe

Monday 28th. Nice journey on slow train to Hagi, lovely scenery from the window. Found minshuku with a little help, I can't understand why I there is no sign on the outside in Romaji saying Minshuku at least....to me it looks like just another building.Dropped off bags and walked into town. Managed to lose my way and got stuck in the modern part of town which is very ugly. Jeez, you'd think I could cope with a map by now.Feet sore. Finally found the bus station, took circular bus to castle/pottery area, only to find it closed cos it’s freaking Monday and everything is closed on a Monday. Window shopped and saw some lovely pieces of traditional Hagi yaki (pottery from Hagi). Went round to castle area which was lovely, although the castle is pretty much in ruins now. It was bitterly cold so got next bus back to bus station. Had a Teriyaki burger , which, being allergic to seafood and all sandwiched out, is my current favourite Japanese food,and got other bus back to minshuku. Very cold inside. Talked to Tomiyo Arai, the landlady and her friend Hanako for ages. Tomiyo speaks quite reasonable english, and owns one of these electronic gizmos that acts as a japanese/english dictionary. Brilliant. Couldn’t get in the bath cos it was too damned hot, had early night and slept poorly due to dip in the mattress.

Tuesday 29th. Breakfast was a thick cupasoup, slices of juicy apple and kiwi fruit and bread with homemade marmalade. Despite the cold weather there are orange and satsuma trees everywhere, full of fruit. Tomiyo dropped me off at the local museum, which had some magnificent wood block prints of samurai (the first I’ve seen this trip) and a wonderful shop where I spent a small fortune….Then back to the pottery district where I bought some lovely pieces. Oh dear, it's not just that I've spent a fortune today, it's carrying the damn stuff around with me, with several stops on this trip still to go. At least I can start throwing clothes away, and leaving books behind, which will free up the space needed for my goodies.

Back to minshuku and Tomiyo took me to small private museum for a viewing, and bought another small piece. A lady there tried to explain the process of pottery and clay types, but her english was worse than my Japanese, she just kept saying "ano....eto...." (Japanese for "um, err...") Back to minshuku, had tea with Tomiyo, who at 71 and no longer fully fit, passed old lady farts every time she stood up. I know enough not to comment......Worked out my name on Tomyo's Jap/english doodah, Ja is a snake and ki is a tree. Figure it out….Wrote postcards and ran my own bath, but still bitterly cold. Snowed most of day.

Wednesday 30th. Another cold uncomfortable night followed by breakfast of pumpkin soup and sweet potato fritters, fried egg with salad…mmmm. Got a lot of lessons in tea and Japanese pottery, and drank macha, the ceremonial green tea, from a 150 year old masterpiece cup. Caught train for Matsue, which they tell me will be even colder than Hagi. Gulp.

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